The world will soon experience a new generation of TVs where their screen resolutions are much higher resulting to far more detail. While the price of these TVs are still very high, the introduction of these TVs is still good news for the average consumer because the prices of TVs using older technologies will go down. If you think about a couple of years ago, the price of a standard 50-inch 1080p would cost well over $1,000. But companies like Samsung are making 50-inch TVs a lot more accessible and don’t have many compromises either. The Samsung UN50F5500 is positioned as a midrange 50-inch TV but the specs and features show that the UN50F5500 should satisfy the needs of many consumers.
Samsung has made many beautiful TVs in the past and even better ones just recently. But the Samsung UN50F5500 has shares the design of the older models which isn’t exactly a bad thing for a new Samsung TV owner. The silver quadrapod stand does make this TV look a bit dated but the thin bezel still makes the display pretty eye-catching. One neat thing about the stand is that it allows swiveling which is something that a lot of modern TVs can’t do.
The UN50F5500 is a bit lacking on the connectivity side since a lot of people with 50-inch TVs want to connect more than just a set-top box and media player. The latest game consoles and smartphones rely on HDMI ports too and this TV only provides 3 of them. To make matters a bit worse, the only set of component ports is shared with the composite ports further limiting the setup combinations. Of course, getting an AV receiver can solve the problem although it means more money needs to be spent.
Samsung started quite early in integrating a Smart TV system to allow select TVs to independently access the Internet and as a result, the Smart Hub interface featured in the Samsung UN50F5500 is more refined than ever. The TV doesn’t come with any dedicated remote to make navigation easier but using the interface still feels like using an ordinary Samsung tablet. All you need to do is flip through the 5 different Smart Hub panels and launch away. You can launch any of the preinstalled apps or download new ones from Samsung’s own apps store. The UN50F5500 has a wide variety of apps across different categories from popular streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, Dailymotion and HBO to more specific ones like WSJ Live and UFC TV. There are a good number of non-streaming apps too like Facebook and Skype along with a few games including Shark Dash.
One of the most notable apps is the TV’s own web browser that allows you to access virtually any website or web app. It works like a standard desktop browser in the sense that you can open multiple tabs and the dual core processor makes the overall performance better than past Samsung TVs with the browser app.
The surface of the Smart Hub experience can be something that competitors can replicate but the Samsung UN50F5500 has some unique features baked in too like the S-Recommendation feature. Launching this app basically presents you with all sorts of exciting material to watch and you can customize that list by inputting your own preferences.
Another huge advantage that the Smart Hub has over other Smart TV interfaces is the Samsung Link (previously known as AllShare) feature, which handles all the local network stuff. Once launched, you can access content stored in other computers that are configured to share content. Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets can also download the Samsung Link Android app from the Play Store to make it a lot easier to share photos, music and videos stored in the device to the big screen. Samsung Link can pull content from the cloud as well.
Getting the UN50F5500 is pretty simple since the TV has built-in wireless LAN to allow easy connections to a wireless router whether the router is in the living room or somewhere else in the house. But if you don’t have a fast connection and/or don’t have an Android device, you can still have the Samsung UN50F5500 play back content independently if you just have a USB flash drive or external hard disk. The ConnectShare feature can read AVI, MP3, JPEG, ASF and a number of other file types present in the flash drive. The TV provides 2 USB ports in case you wish to plug in 2 external storage devices at once.
Being the most basic 2013 Samsung TV with Smart Hub functionality, the UN50F5500 doesn’t really have many technologies that enhance the picture and sound quality. The Wide Color Enhancer Plus is a basic but essential technology that expands the color range so visuals look more vivid. The results are most noticeable when watching non-HD content. When watching 1080p, visuals look pretty good and it has a Clear Motion Rate of 120 which translates to fairly sharp visuals even when there are fast moving pictures. With support for DTS Premium Sound 5.1 and Dolby Digital Plus, high-definition content can produce a surround sound experience although it is partially held back by the pair of 10-watt speakers.
The Samsung UN50F5500 also meets the Energy Star 6.0 specifications, which is crucial for a large 50-inch display. Generally, the TV should consume about 55 watts and can be reduced to just 0.3 watts on standby. But the Eco Sensor can intelligently adjust the brightness based on the ambient lighting so you can still witness good picture quality while reducing the average power consumption.
For a 50-inch TV under $1,000, you cannot really expect the UN50F5500 to excel in any major areas. But it is still money well spent if you can deal with the 3 HDMI inputs since this TV doesn’t have any other serious weaknesses and the Smart Hub experience leaves you with plenty to do. The Samsung UN50F5500 is a great low-cost way to upgrade your small TV to something larger, prettier and more connected.
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